Woodwork for marimba quartet plus cajon
Publisher: C. Alan Publications (2014)
Composed: 2014
Duration: 5’45”
Difficulty: Medium-Difficult
Instrumentation (5 players): 4.3-octave marimba, 5.0-octave marimba, cajon

Woodwork was composed in 2013 for the Northern Arizona University Percussion Ensemble, directed by Dr. Steven Hemphill. Written for four marimba players on two instruments plus solo cajon, this pseudo-minimalist work explores a variety of ostinato figures woven between the five wooden instrument voices. The majority of the work is set in either 3/4 or 6/8 time, time signatures which are comprised of equivalent rhythmic values, but featuring contrasting points of metric emphasis. Each marimba voice contributes to the rhythmic texture of the composition through the use of syncopation, complementary rhythmic figures, and accents. The melodic and harmonic content is also shared throughout the four parts, deliberately in such a way that rarely does one voice clearly separate from the ensemble texture. The cajon serves as a rhythmic foundation for the ensemble, occasionally emerging from the background with more active soloistic statements. All combined, this new composition delivers an infectious groove with subtle textural shifts and energizing ensemble passages. Woodwork was premiered by the NAU Percussion Ensemble and Josh Gottry at the Arizona Percussive Arts Society Day of Percussion in March 2014.

I see a place for Gottry’s piece in a percussion ensemble concert, both programmatically and pedagogically. The blend of marimbas and cajon is very pleasing … early and mid-level college students will benefit from tackling the ensemble difficulties presented by the various interlocking accent patterns and syncopated rhythms. – Michael Overman
Printed by permission of the Percussive Arts Society, inc.